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Report 1739: Six Weeks in Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC where English Tourists Donít Get to....

By Eleanor from England, Summer 2009

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Page 5 of 9: Waterton Lake to Cranbrooke

photo by Eleanor

Blakiston Creek

From the Badlands we headed to Waterton Lakes National Park and spent three nights here. We had booked into Crandall Mountain Lodge - a mistake. This was the most expensive place we stopped in but standards were well below those experienced elsewhere. We would not stop there gain and would not recommend it.

We drove the Red Rock Canyon and Cameron Lakes roads, taking our time to admire the scenery and do some of the shorter trails. Both of these are excellent drives and we enjoyed the walks. Something to mention - on Parks Canada trail information there is a figure for altitude gain. This is the difference between starting altitude and final altitude. It doesnít make any allowance for actual height climbed which with all the ups and downs can be quite a bit more.

The weather was bright and sunny with clear blue skies and the scenery superb. There was still snow lying around Cameron Lake and we were amazed by the number of bear prints. We saw a bear cub at the side of Cameron Road and also a mother black bear and two cubs along the Linnet Lake Nature Trail. We turned a corner a few hundred yards from the car park and came face to face with mum who sniffed us and then ambled off.

From Waterton Lakes we headed up through the Kootenays. We left Waterton on a glorious sunny day and headed for Crowsnest Pass, with a brief stop at Leitch Collieries. We had seen pictures of them and wanted to visit the site. The buildings are superb but we were disappointed by the lack of information about them. Emails before we arrived had not been answered. The box, which should have held information leaflets, was very empty. Some places had detailed information boards, other bits had none. We admired Frank Slide from the road but didnít go in the Visitor Centre.

We did the detour up to Elkford - interesting drive but didnít repay the time spent. We rather wished we had left this and spent more time at Fernie (pretty town). We were stopping at Elizabeth Lake Lodge in Cranbrook for two nights, which we highly recommend. With Wasmuth Homestead in Saskatchewan (which is a very different experience) this was the best place we stopped all holiday. Facilities and standards are very high and the rooms have a lovely view across Elizabeth Lake. There are easy walks around the lake.

From Cranbrook we spent a day at Fort Steele heritage Town. It was early in the season so most of the costumed interpreters were still busy practising their roles in the fort and theatre. There is a good selection of buildings with plenty of information about them.

We then drove to Kimberley to go on the Underground Mining Railway. This was a pleasant run up to the mine with an underground tour explaining how the mine worked. There were only a handful of people on the trip so there was plenty of time to ask questions.

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